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First Quarter Regional Economic Reports Indicate Summer of Economic Growth

June 2, 2016

Leading economic indicators increased throughout the state during the first quarter

SAINT PAUL — Today, Secretary of State Steve Simon released the 2016 first quarter Minnesota Regional Economic and Business Conditions Reports, which predict the state will see an increased pace of economic activity throughout the summer.

The reports show all six planning areas (metro, central, northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest) enjoying improved economic growth in the coming months. Across the state there was growth in payrolls and higher earnings per hour in the private sector over the last year. Initial claims of unemployment insurance also fell throughout the state over the last year. To view each region’s full report online, click here.

“These reports can help Minnesota’s small business owners better understand their region’s economic outlook,” said Secretary Simon. “When I travel the state, whether it’s to meet with local chambers of commerce or entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses, my number one goal is to help them succeed in any way I can. These regional reports provide the data, trends, and insight to help make that success possible.”

The reports were developed by the St. Cloud State University School of Public Affairs Research Institute, in partnership with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. The Secretary of State’s Office reviews and approves all Minnesota business filings, and commissioned the reports to provide a perspective on business conditions and deliver a tool for entrepreneurs to better understand their region. There is one quarterly report for each of six statewide economic regions. The economic reviews and forecasts are based on a comprehensive examination of several datasets, including business filings.

“The beginning of 2016 shows promise for good economic growth through the summer,” said King Banaian, report co-author and dean of the School of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University. “All six leading indicators were positive for the quarter, and three are now positive for a full year. New filings of incorporation and limited liability company were up for four of the six regions in the last year, with Northeast and Southwest planning areas showing decline. Initial claims of unemployment insurance fell in all six planning areas, and household employment was up in all but the Northeast planning area.”

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Twin Cities
Twin Cities business conditions are expected to improve over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. The Twin Cities Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) rose by 11.19 points in this year’s first quarter, as all five index components increased, and is now 9.5 percent higher than its level one year ago.

There were 11,215 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in the seven-county metro area in the first quarter of 2016 — representing a 6.9 percent increase from one year ago.

Employment increased by 2.7 percent over the year ending March 2016. The regional unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in March, an improvement on its 3.8 percent reading one year earlier.

Central
Central Minnesota business conditions are expected to improve over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. The Central Minnesota LEI surged 11.46 points in the first quarter after rising a revised 12.47 points in the final quarter of 2015. Compared to last year, the LEI is 4.04 percent higher.

There were 1,529 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Central Minnesota in the first quarter of 2016 — representing a 3.5 percent increase from one year ago.

Employment increased by 2.2 percent over the year ending March 2016. Compared to one year ago, 7,888 more residents of Central Minnesota now have jobs. The regional unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in March, which is up from 5.3 percent one year earlier.

Northeast
Business conditions in Northeast Minnesota are expected to improve over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. The Northeast Minnesota LEI rose by 7.74 points in the first quarter, following a decline at the end of 2015, and is now 4.8 percent above its level one year ago.

There were 639 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Northeast Minnesota in the first quarter of 2016 — representing a 16.8 percent increase from one year ago.

Employment was 0.2 percent lower than year ago levels in March. The regional unemployment rate swelled to 7.8 percent, higher than the 5.9 percent rate reported one year ago, as the labor force increased by 1.8 percent.

Northwest
Northwest Minnesota business conditions are expected to experience an increased pace of economic activity over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. The Northwest Minnesota LEI increased by 5.49 points in the first quarter, after being essentially unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2015, and is 2.3 percent below its level one year ago.

There were 1,225 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Northwest Minnesota in the first quarter of 2016 — representing a 11.2 percent increase from one year ago.

Employment increased by 1.1 percent over the year ending March 2016. The regional unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in March, significantly higher than one year ago. This is partly explained by a 1.7 percent increase in the Northwest Minnesota labor force over the past 12 months (4,667 more people are now in the regional labor force).

Southeast
Southeast Minnesota business conditions are expected to remain steady over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. The Southeast Minnesota LEI experienced a small gain of 0.6 points in the first quarter of 2016, similar to the end of 2015, and is now 2 percent below its level of one year earlier.

There were 929 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Southeast Minnesota in the first quarter — representing a 4.7 percent increase from one year ago.

Employment increased by 1.3 percent over the year ending March 2016. Compared to March 2015, 3,505 more residents of Southeast Minnesota now have jobs. The regional unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in March, an improvement from 4.2 percent in the year earlier period.

Southwest
Southwest Minnesota business conditions are expected to improve over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. The Southwest Minnesota LEI increased by 15.01 points in the first quarter of 2016, and is now 1.9 percent lower than one year ago.

There were 665 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Southwest Minnesota in the first quarter — representing 3.6 percent fewer new filings than one year ago.

Employment increased by 0.7 percent over the year ending March 2016. 1,574 more Southwest Minnesota residents have jobs than did one year ago. The regional unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in March, an increase on its 4.7 percent reading in March 2015.

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